News Investigators/ The National Assembly (NASS) on Saturday passed a estimated N28.7trillion 2024 Appropriation Bill.
The approved figure shows a N1.2 trillion amount higher than the initial estimates presented by President Bola Tinubu to the joint session of NASS late November.
Mr. Tinubu had on November 29th presented a 2024 budget of N27.5 trillion before a joint session of the NASS.
The House of Representatives figures slightly varied from the Senate figures necessitating a conference of the committees of the two chambers.
Reps pass N28.777 trillion 2024 appropriation bill as judiciary gets highest statutory transfer
The House of Representatives on Saturday passed the sum of N28.777 trillion in expenditure for the 2024 fiscal year, following a report by Rep. Abubakar Bitch, Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation.
The approved sum is N1.2 trillion higher than the N27.5 trillion presented by the President during the joint session of the National Assembly.
Speaker Tajudeen Abbas who read the breakdown of the report during plenary gave the National Judicial Council (NJC) the highest allocation of N341.626 billion under statutory transfer.
The breakdown of the N28.777 trillion approved budget showed that the sum of N1.743 trillion is for statutory transfers and N8.271 trillion is for debt servicing.
The sum of N8.769 trillion is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, while N9.995 trillion is for capital expenditure for the year ending December 31, 2024.
The N9.179 trillion fiscal deficit for the year under review is to be financed through asset sales and privatisation (N298,486,421,740); multilateral and bilateral project – N7,828,529,477,860.
The total debt service of N8.271 trillion was approved for the year 2024, while the sum of N5.300 trillion is to be incurred through domestic debts, including ways and means, and N2.748 trillion through foreign debts.
Also, the sinking fund for the retirement of maturing promissory notes stands at N223.662 billion.
The statutory transfer was followed by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with N338.925 billion after the NJC.
The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) got the sum of N263.044 billion; the North East Development Commission (NEDC) got N131.836 billion; and the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund (BHPF) got N131.522 billion.
The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure got the sum of N131.522 billion; the Public Complaint Commission got N14.460 billion; and the National Human Rights Commission got N5 billion, respectively.
The breakdown of the National Assembly budget showed that the sum of N78.624 billion is for the House of Representatives, while N49.145 billion is for the Senate.
Also, the sum of N36.727 billion is for the NASS Office; N30.807 billion for General Services; N20.388 billion for Legislative Aides; N15.189 billion for Service Wide Vote; and N15 billion for the National Assembly Hospital Project.
The sum of N12.326 is for the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC); N12.123 billion for the National Assembly Library Complex (take-off grant); and N10 billion for the ongoing construction of NASC headquarters.
Also, the sum of N9.008 billion was approved for the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and N4.500 billion for the completion of the ongoing NILDS building.
The sum of N4 billion was also approved for the National Assembly Recreation Centre, while N4 billion was approved for the design, construction, furnishing, and equipping of the NASS Budget and Research Office.
The sum of N3 billion was also approved for the procurement of books for the NASS Library, while N3 billion was approved for the Senate Car Park and N3 billion for the House of Representatives Car Park.
The sum of N3 billion was approved for the upgrade of the NASS key infrastructure, and N3 billion was approved for the design, construction, furnishing, and equipping of the NASS ultramodern printing press, among others.
From the total sum of N50.451 trillion approved for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure, the Ministry of Defense got the highest allocation of N1.308 trillion.
This was followed by the Ministry of Police Affairs with N869.121 billion, the Ministry of Education with N857.134 billion, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare with N667.577 billion.
Also, the Ministry of Interior got N362.552 billion, the Ministry of Youth got N201.467 billion, and the National Security Adviser (NSA) got N199.763 billion.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs got N140.456 billion, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security got N110.248 billion.
Also, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) got N100.248 billion, and the Presidency got the sum of N97.913 billion.
Senate passes N28.7 trillion 2024 Appropriation Bill
Meanwhile, on the floor of the Senate, the lawmakers passed a N28.7 trillion 2024 Appropriation Bill, increasing the budget from the N27.5 trillion presented by President Bola Tinubu with about N1.2 trillion.
The passage of the bill, followed the approval of a report of the Senate Committee on Appropriation at plenary on Saturday.
Presenting the report the committee chairman, Sen.Solomon Adeola, said that the Committee adopted the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Paper (MTEF/FSP) approved by the National Assembly in preparing the budget.
He said the committee adopted the 77.96 dollar per barrel oil benchmark 1.78 mbpd and 800 dollar exchange rate to Naira as against 750 dollars proposed by the executive.
He listed the highlights of the bill to include a total aggregate expenditure of N28.7 trillion, statutory transfers of N1.7 trillion,recurrent expenditure of N8.7 trillion,while the capital expenditure component stood at N9.9 trillion.
He said the committee in processing the bill worked closely with the executive harmoniously.
He said through the close and harmonious appropriation process, the executive forwarded a request for additional funding of some items on expenditure that were not included in the bill as submitted by the President.
He, however, said that the committee observed that the 2024 Appropriation Bill was presented to the National Assembly late.
This, he said, was against the Fiscal Responsibility Act that required the Bill to be presented not later than three months before the next financial year.
Mr. Adeola also said there were inconsistencies in the revenue of some Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs).
He also said that there was removal of some agencies’ personnel costs from the Federal Government payroll and inadequate funding in some allocation of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs).
Mr. Adeola said to ensure thorough scrutiny of budget proposals, the executives should comply with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
He also urged the executive to ensure compliance with the provisions of relevant extant laws, as it concerns government agencies.
He urged agencies removed from the federal government budget to step up their revenue generation, fund itself and remit more to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
He also called for provision of additional funds to some MDAs not appropriately funded.
He urged the executive to sustain the increase in capital component over recurrent to ensure developmental programmes across the country.